General Question

girlofscience's avatar

If your life at present was cancelled today, and you were reborn as a baby, but with all of the same knowledge you have today, how would you handle the knowledge?

Asked by girlofscience (7527points) September 17th, 2008

Imagine the scenario in its entirety. You’re suddenly a baby, but you have your current brain. You can read, write, do math, and any other special skill you’ve acquired.

Do you make these skills known? Do you become a Wonder Baby?

Do you use the fact that you can read to get yourself acting parts, as 1 year olds who can read and memorize lines would probably be in high demand?

Do you make yourself famous for being a child with the intellectual capabilities of an adult?

Or do you just pretend you’re an ordinary child? Do you go to pre-school like everyone else and pretend to “learn” the colors, letters, and numbers?

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35 Answers

basp's avatar

I would handle the knowledge very carefully.

flameboi's avatar

I’d pretend to be normal kid, just to have the chance to be a careless kid again :)

augustlan's avatar

I’d crawl right back into the womb and stay put!

Lightlyseared's avatar

I’d go mad!

Harp's avatar

I’d have to make my “condition” known. The life of a baby would be extremely stultifying to someone with a fully developed intellect . But I would hope that my parents loved me enough (and couldn’t restrain their own ambition enough) to keep my secret from the outside world for awhile. The life of a celebrity has always looked like a terrible curse to me, not to mention a celebrity freak.

Any kind of normal social interchange with the adult world would be next to impossible, so I imagine I’d spend lots of time online where I could mix in without standing out.

Maybe I’d take up writing, so that I could create and contribute behind a curtain of relative anonymity.

Sounds like a rather sad prospect, overall.

Nimis's avatar

Harp: You know, you’re making it really hard for us normal folks.
It’s really hard (if not impossible!) to have anything to say
after you’ve already answered (aside from a smart ass remark).
Damn you and your great answers.

Harp's avatar

You can take comfort in the fact that I almost always screw up something in my answers. This time it was:

edit: couldn’t restrain—-> could restrain

cwilbur's avatar

Childhood would probably be boring. I was already on the smarter end when I was a child the first time around, and there were a few unpleasantnesses there. (I remember needing to demonstrate to a succession of librarians that, yes, I really could read those big books for older children.)

I think I’d enjoy puberty a lot more—all those hormones, a 16-year-old body, but no angst about figuring out who I am and a lot more wisdom about how people behave than your average 16-year-old has.

And college would be a blast—I could take classes in subjects I already know, and get very good grades, or I could place out of them and drink all the time. Or probably some combination, just for variety. And I’d already know enough about my preferences in careers that I could avoid several of my more stupid missteps.

Poser's avatar

Assuming that my brain would develop, physiologically, the same as a normal infant, I think I’d work on learning as many languages as I possibly could, . I’ve taken years of Spanish and still yo no comprendo.

gailcalled's avatar

@nimis; If you really want to be depressed, have Harp send you a chocolate-covered hand-made musical instrument.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

I do not want to be a baby and know all that I do as an adult. I would not want carnal knowledge. I would not want to know the addictive nature/pleasure of alcohol. Can you imagine the ache and desire and not being able to do either? If this happened to me it would be hell.

Girl of Science: Give yourself a timeout for probably causing me to have, what is sure to be, a frightful nightmare. no sex. no margaritas. but I desire both? what on earth were you thinking?

Bri_L's avatar

@ Gailcalled – Tell nemis I think the same thing about harps answers. Then again I think the same thing about both of yours to.

Mtl_zack's avatar

i would act like a baby, and at random, do things that would stun someone. for instance, i innocently suck my thumb, and then when my mom leaves, i take my hand out of my mouth, give the babysitter a huge obvious grin and give her the finger. other examples include whispering things into a schizophrenic’s ear, out-dance a professional dancer, get higher grades than a 18 year old high school student, etc…

JackAdams's avatar

Am I only one who thinks this is a terrific question?

To answer it, if I was a BABY, no one would believe me, and if I spoke, I would be DISSECTED by scientists, eager to find out what made me “tick.”

Nimis's avatar

Jack: Exactly. That’s why I think anyone who wishes for the ability to fly without also asking for the ability to be invisible (and not detectable by radar for that matter) is foolish.

They would be shot down in a heartbeat, stuck in a cage…and eventually dissected.

Bri_L's avatar

There was an X-File expisode where someone got 3 wishes and wished to be invisible. and they got all excited. the went out walking and forgot no one could see them, even from the other side so when they were crossing the street and looking the other way a car hit them. Then when his brother wished him back to life he was alive but felt all the pain from the injuries.

Zaku's avatar

Yes, that’s a hilarious X-Files episode, Bri L.

Nimis's avatar

Bri: Damn it. I missed that one.

Bri_L's avatar

It was one of those quirky funny ones. There was a goth like girl who was essentially a genie and she kept trying to warn them about their choices.

JackAdams's avatar

@Nimis: This is a true story, told briefly by me.

A guy posed a question on another Q&A website, asking, “Would you wish for the ability to fly like Superman?”

Nearly everyone, myself included, responded with a variation of, “Oh Hell Yes!”

The questioner replied to all of them, “Then all of you are DEAD! Having the ability to FLY like Superman, means DEATH to those who can’t LAND like Superman.”

He was so RIGHT!

Zaku's avatar

I think one would definitely need to pretend to be somewhat ordinary, for the reasons some people have listed.

So… I would use my people-reading skills to observe my parents and figure our what kind of people they were, and what could possibly have happened. I would suspect that I was not in a unique situation, and be relatively paranoid, unless I had some sort of assurance or information to the contrary. So I’d be looking out for other savants, who was responsible for causing this weird situation, etc.

But I don’t expect that’s what you’re asking, exactly. I assume you mean that somehow I know how it happened and that it’s mostly unique and benign. Like, I discovered an ancient wizard who was about to pass into another stage of existence, but he granted me a wish but had really bad hearing…

So, in that case, I’d still play dumb until I had totally figured out my parents and family. I’d figure out what kind of partners they’d be able to be for me in my new life. Then unless some great idea came to me, I think I’d use this new experience of growing up to study childhood from a unique perspective, and develop some great friends for the new life, and get in a lot of study time and so on. Sounds like a fantastic 18-year sabbatical program, a way to make some breakthroughs in child psychology, and the opportunity to help a bunch of kids develop into great life-long friends, and to not mess up young romance.

Sign me up, though ideally, I’d like to start out at about age 4, I think.

Nimis's avatar

JackA: snort
So true. So true.
Why the link?

Nimis's avatar

Bri: Wait, hold up…essentially a genie?

Bri_L's avatar

yeah. in the x-files episode she was a genie and granted 3 wishes.

Nimis's avatar

Bri: Hahaha…now I really regret missing that episode. Ludicrous!

JackAdams's avatar

@Nimis: Why not have a link?

It makes your name stand out, so you can see it easier, when you are skimming over answers.

Bri_L's avatar

Nimis: here is a link but BIG TIME SPOILER ALERT ! it walks you through it.

Nimis's avatar

Bri: Oh, my god. That. Was. Amazing.
I need to start reading more TV.
It makes the already ridiculous even MORE ridiculous.

JackAdams: Too much work?

Bri_L's avatar


or, go the local library and check out the season

JackAdams's avatar

@Nimis: None of those dudes are me.

Nimis's avatar

Bri: But that wouldn’t be as ridiculous!
Which oh so much adds to my pleasure…

JackA: Very true. But my profile says little about me as well.

Bri_L's avatar

@Nimis – Good point! Haha!

scamp's avatar

I’d be poser’s VP!

Skyrail's avatar

I would cry.

Childhood without the innocence isn’t childhood. The world is a mess, and if I could live my childhood again without knowing about the problems across the globe I’d be so happy again. But now I know about the media, the way they work, the world and it’s problems, the in depth arguments that I can conjure up with friends, the stress behind education (as small as it may be in comparison to the future), knowing more and more about the financial problems, becoming more independent, being given more responsibilities I’ve become more cynical and pessimistic.

But if it did happen, boy would I change so much of my life.

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